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Fatty Liver Disease: Know The Causes Of Fatty Liver Other Than Obesity

Fatty liver is a condition where fat builds up on the liver. Presence of small amounts of fat in the liver is normal, but too much can further convert into a health problem. Read here to know about the causes of fatty liver disease other than obesity.

Fatty Liver Disease: Know The Causes Of Fatty Liver Other Than Obesity

Fatty liver disease: Abdominal swelling and pain can be signs of fatty liver

HIGHLIGHTS

  1. Obesity increases the risk of fatty liver disease
  2. Maintaining a healthy weight may help reduce the risk
  3. There is no medication approved to treat fatty liver disease currently

Liver is the largest organ in the body. It helps the body in digesting food, filtering out toxins and storing energy from the food you eat. Fatty liver is a condition where fat builds up on the liver. Presence of small amounts of fat in the liver is normal, but too much can further convert into a health problem. Large amounts of fat in liver can cause inflammation and is potential enough to damage liver and create scarring. Also known as liver fibrosis, scarring in severe cases can further damage the liver.

Know the causes of fatty liver disease

As fatty liver is the accumulation of fat over the liver, it is evident that obesity has a major role to play in it. Excessive fat in the bodies that can't be consumed for providing energy, gets converted as obesity. As a reason, experts advice consuming healthy fats for maintaining a healthy liver.


Fatty liver developed in someone who consumes a lot of alcohol is known as alcoholic fatty liver disease. For someone who doesn't consume alcohol and develops a fatty liver, it is called non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.

Causes of fatty liver

As stated above fatty liver develops when fat starts accumulating over the liver or the body is unable to metabolize excessive fat. There are numerous reasons for this fat build-up. Consuming too much alcohol can cause alcoholic fatty liver and consuming unhealthy fats can cause non-alcoholic liver disease. Other than these, here are the following factors that may play a role in causing a fatty liver:-

  • Insulin resistance
  • High-blood sugar
  • High level of triglycerides in blood
  • Less common causes
  • Rapid weight loss
  • Exposure to certain toxins
  • Infections like hepatitis C

Symptoms of fatty liver

Fatty liver in many cases causes no noticeable symptoms. But one may feel the pain and discomfort in the upper right side of the abdomen. There are some cases in which people with fatty liver develop complications like fibrosis; also called cirrhosis. It may cause symptoms like:-

  • Abdominal swelling
  • Loss of appetite and weakness
  • Abdominal pain
  • Itching on skin
  • A rapid weight loss
  • Related diagnosis

The commencement of any diagnosis starts with knowing the patients family history. For diagnosing a fatty liver, a doctor will take your medical history, conduct a physical examination and may order further test basis the examination.

On suspecting a fatty liver a doctor may ask the following questions:-

  • All the details about the family medical history
  • Alcohol consumption levels
  • Lifestyle patterns
  • Any prevailing health ailments
  • Medication taken
  • Current changes noted in your health

In various cases fatty liver disease gets signaled by increased liver enzymes in the blood test. Increased liver enzymes are a sign of liver inflammation and fatty liver causes liver inflammation.

Treatment of fatty liver

There is no medication approved to treat fatty liver disease currently. In many cases, changes in lifestyle help in reversing the fatty liver disease. Moreover, many doctors advise their patients to reduce the consumption of alcohol (if consumed), keep a check on increasing weight, take steps to lose weight and start consuming a healthy diet.

Depending on your current condition and test results, your doctor might suggest lifestyle changes and medication accordingly. Fatty liver disease can be triggered by numerous factors, obesity is one of them not the only of them.

(Dr. Neerav Goyal, Senior Consultant, Liver Transplant, Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals, New Delhi)


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